"The Trials of Bidder 70" - Abe Streep; "With Carbon Dioxide Emissions at Record High..."; Bakken articles in Star-Tribune


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It's astonishing to think that the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have increased by roughly 41% since the beginning of the industrial revolution and that this emission in carbon dioxide has caused the planet to rise in temperature that we can actually measure. After reading that information, I began to research different ways that individuals can reduce the emission of carbon dioxide and I learned that if you reduce your household garbage by 10 percent, you can save 1,200 pounds of carbon dioxide annually. Also, by recycling half of your household waste, you can save 2,400 pounds of carbon dioxide annually! This aligns with our discussion of plastic bags on Monday and California's decision to ban plastic bags. Personally, I think that every state should adopt this mentality since the statistical amount of plastic bags that are recycled every year is drastically lower than the amount being used. I don't know about you, but I know that I will be asking for paper bags next time I'm at Cub!

CSCI 1001 Homework
Andrew Burke
1a. XPS 8700
1b. 8GB Memory
1c. 4th Generation Intel Core i5 Processor, 3.1GHz

It was enjoyable reading about someone that is so passionate about their work. Whether or not you agree with what someone makes a stand about, I think you have to at least admire the courage it takes to stand up and declare, regardless of the consequences, what you believe in. I don’t think I’m a very passionate person, so it’s nice to know that there are people who have something that the care about very deeply. I was surprised that DeChristopher was so forward with the BLM agent at the auction, especially. He even said under oath that he wasn’t paying for the land he bid on, after two hours of questioning. I would have thought that he would of have more of a plan, as opposed to immediately angering government officials, but it’s a pretty clear demonstration of how much he cares about this cause. Not even being thrown in prison slows him down.

It is scary to believe how global emissions have accumulated at such a rapid rate over the last 200 years. At the rise of the technological age, the use of coal as a source of power contributed to the global warming effect that exists today. Little by little, more advanced countries have come to an agreement that emissions are to be limited and cleaner power sources are to come into play. Presently, people are using hydraulic fractures to discover natural gas as a replacement for electricity generation. Through this, more water is saved in comparison to using running water to power coal mines.

It has been over 20 years and there have been no signs of slowing down, especially in developing countries where technology is more dependent on the use of coal. Because of this, climate changes have brought forth floods, tornadoes, and heat waves. These natural disasters are created from the combination of humid air and inconsistent temperatures. I fear that over the next few centuries, natural disasters will become more common and the use of cleaner power sources will easily be forgotten.


After reading about DeChristopher’s ordeals and setbacks in the government, I was struck by how much I felt I could empathize. The last two elections I was very excited at the prospect of bringing Obama into office and expecting the “Change” he promised us. As I’ve watched the years roll by, there isn’t much “change.” In fact, he went back on a lot of policies he was dead set on fulfilling in his campaigns. While I realize that this is a common tactic used by politicians and I was naïve to believe otherwise, coupled with the fact that most legislative decisions are decided by congress, the drastic difference between what was promised and what was delivered is unnerving. Concerning climate change, the issue has been brought to the forefront of many news outlets and has been a long-standing social concern. I have always felt that the government wasn’t doing nearly enough (less than 1% of what it should be doing to implement radical changes, probably) and felt that the true gravity of the situation was never talked about. It’s not something I’ve ever been incredibly passionate about, but even the most passive people would be jarred by DeChristopher’s announcement at the gathering – it’s too late. Closed book. Just thinking about it spooks me.

- Neira

Looking at all the statistics of Co2 emission, I think that our generation and the generation to come will suffer some consequences of this.Therefore prevention and lowering down the emission rates is better and easier than cleaning up the air if it is already heavily polluted.Imagine if someday people have to buy oxygen tanks and buy equipment to filter the air to make it breathable! or stay indoors if its too hot? or build their houses higher above sea level or an arc to avoid flash floods? It would definitely create a new market, but the general public would suffer. Hence, DeChristopher can be a good example of a start in preventing more co2 emission.One thing that I have to say to the Trials of Bidder 70, is that DeChristopher has real guts!Our generation needs more people like him. Change has to come from the society. The society also needs to show the government on what we want, and not what they want.Daredevils like these can change the world. But personally, if I was put into the same situation, I would not even dare to break the law or whatsoever. :/

The Streep article just made me angry. Angry at people in my age group and angry at a power structure with such arbitrarily -written and -enforced laws (well, not arbitrarily-written. They were very purposefully-written, but I hope you get what I mean). DeChristopher was charged with a lobbyist's wet dream of a law, and then he was barred from competently defending himself against the charges. That really shows what a juggernaut fossil fuel technology really is—governance essentially kowtows to those in charge of it at the dire expense of those who question this state of affairs.

The thing is, though, that tactic clearly works to keep more people like Tim DeChristopher from acting up. Actions like being arrested for sitting on the White House lawn are far less substantial than committing felonies, and that's the next-best example of a well-known group's civil disobedience. Groups even go out of their way to appear non-confrontational. The article cited 350.org as being “nice by design.” I've heard first-hand from two friends about their “political actions.” What a cute, non-confrontational name! The problem is that 350.org is trying to confront something that they feel is harming the planet. Hell, look at this article on Dinkytown from the Minnesota Daily. People our age in 1970 were willing to square off against police over fast food. I should note here that I'm sensitive to the fact that Tim DeChristopher was unaware he was committing a felony when he bid on all that land without intending to pay for it, but he did stick to his guns when confronted with the fact.

Things are certainly more complicated now that the police are militarized more than ever before and few young people can risk a criminal record from fear of it impacting job opportunities because we all have tens of thousands of dollars of student loan debt to pay off—but if that's really the case, we should stop claiming that the environment is the most important issue for us, because our actions don't play that out.


The CO2 article from The New York Times seemed to have a pretty negative outlook on our ability to prevent carbon dioxide emissions, and also fears the worst in what those emissions will do to our planet. Carbon dioxide emissions continue to rise each year, and it doesn’t look like it’s slowing down anytime soon. It’s too bad that even though the developed countries are starting to lower their CO2 emissions, the developing countries are raising their emissions at higher and higher rates. And the fossil fuel that’s growing fastest is coal, which happens to emit the most carbon. Even though it seems like lots of the negative effects of CO2 emissions on the earth seem largely speculative, I still think it’s very important for us to take every precaution in preserving our world for future generations of all of earth’s creatures.


While reading about the carbon dioxide emissions, I was surprised to see that the United States has actually cut back on our emissions in the past couple of years. With hydraulic fracturing becoming more prominent, it does make sense that our emissions would drop a little bit. I agree with Christina Figuerers statement, "Governments have to find ways in which action on the ground can be accelerated and taken to a higher level, because that is absolutely needed," because I know from doing brief research in the past and particularly from last week's essay that carbon dioxide levels in our atmosphere have well exceeded the safe threshold and have been continuing to do so since 1950. I found it surprising that although we have been watching this problem accelerate for over 60 years, national governments are still apprehensive about changing their ways, as the Carbon Dioxide Emissions article stated that the plan they are planning to execute will still not take place until 2020. By then, we could be facing carbon dioxide emission levels that exceed over 400 parts per million.

In the Trials of Bidder 70 article, it was nice to see there are people who are passionate about stopping the rise of carbon dioxide emissions and attempting to start movements to decrease them. From a cultural standpoint, I was interested in some of the sayings on shirts such as "Clean Coal," "iMatter," and the blunt "Fuck Coal, Fuck Stripmining." These reminded me that in society, although much of the attention is focused on the news media's interpretation of current events, citizens still have their creative ways to express their beliefs in every issue we are collectively facing.


After reading the Tim DeChristopher story, I am torn on how to feel about his situation. While I admire him for being passionate about his cause, and I am an environmentally passionate person myself, I still think that he may have gone too far. After all, he did deliberately enter the auction and deliberately bid on land that he never intended to pay for. While he leads peaceful rallies and events, he sounds as if he is pretty arrogant. He also has no qualms with breaking the law and then telling a judge that he will continue to break the law for his cause. Do I think he should be sent to prison, no. Especially because it was admitted by the judge that he was only sending him to prison because of his comments about continuing civil disobedience. He should have been given a fine or maybe small jail time, but not prison.

For me, even though I am passionate about the environment, I don't see myself ever participating in the kinds of sit-ins that DeChristopher and his organization do. I just can't see why ruining my own future by being arrested and sent to jail, helps anything. What good does a sit-in at the White House amount to when the people are immediately arrested the second they step foot on the property? Seems like useless actions that result in ruining someones chances at getting a job. His followers call themselves warriors and soldiers which is somewhat offensive to me. Those terms, in my opinion, are reserved for people who are literally fighting with weapons in foreign countries in the name of our freedom. His organization sounds dangerously close to becoming a mirror of "Earth First". My question is, do these kinds of sit-ins and disruptive actions really help overturn anything? Do their attempts really throw a wrench into the system, or do they simply get some media time and then thrown in jail?

This topic makes my brain hurt because I believe in what they believe, I just don't know if I think that the way they go about taking action is really the best way.


The Justin Gillis and John Broder article With Carbon Dioxide Emissions at Record High, Worries On How to Slow Warming I was reminded of how little effort has been put in recently to try and limit the emission of carbon dioxide. I felt like there was a time a few years back where at every turn you could find someone yelling at you to reduce your carbon foot print by walking more, riding your bike, car pooling, etc. at the time I felt like "hey if people are going to yell this much about carbon dioxide emissions it must be important." However, now I feel like people have given up on caring for the planet and the amount of carbon dioxide being released in to the air we breath. If a good way to reduce carbon dioxide emissions would be to change how we fuel our homes (possibly solar energy or some other form of alternative energy) someone should take the time, effort, and money into doing so. I think creating a different source of energy is beneficial to the environment we live in.

- Hannah

These articles seemed to further support how large of a role our government plays in our use of fossil fuels -- more than we think. And yet, getting a community or a country on board with a decision to, say, cut down on emissions is an immense undertaking. I felt like I was reading old news in the New York Times article, yet it made me uncomfortable with how complacent we seem to be with the way things are going. We have ideas to cut down emissions, but putting them into action takes longer than we think. Even Figueres agrees that "governments have to find ways in which action on the ground can be accelerated and taken to a higher level, because that is absolutely needed.” Reading about the goal to implement "no new emissions" is pretty ambitious, especially to be "concluded in 2015 and taking effect in 2020."

On another note, one thing I appreciated about DeChristopher in the Bidder article was his views on his dad's job, which was a natural gas engineer. I thought this would cause tension between him and his father, but it did not. "If he was a lobbyist for the natural-gas industry," DeChristopher said, "that would be different. But being an engineer—I don’t have a problem with that at all. I don’t think there’s anything immoral about working in those industries. I think the immoral part is when the executives of those industries think they should be able to control our political system.” I am cynical in that scientists seem subservient to government and their agenda, but with respect to our rapidly changing environment and fuel usage, some sort of coexistence between the two disciplines will need to emerge in order to catalyze implementing our ideas for alternative fuel sources.

I admire his personal sacrifice, but struggle to see Tim DeChristopher’s actions rallying the general public to the cause. From my own experience, I know many people who casually espouse environmental concerns, but very few that live by environmentally conscious choices and fewer still are those who live and die for the cause. Worse yet, many I encounter believe there is nothing to be concerned of at all, as if they trust the scientific method to produce their cell phone and transplant a new liver, but not with evaluating the climate. Or, if they do acknowledge human impact on climate, they are too reserved to support regulations that they see as too costly. It’s as though we live in a collective denial and that either there is nothing to fear and we should proceed as is, or, that sure it’s bad, but not so bad that we’re willing to compromise our way of life.
I fall in there somewhere too.

The increase in the level of carbon dioxide over the last few years is a bit scary to think about. The article by Justin Gilis and John Broder really makes you wonder about the future of the world. The number of statistics mentioned present a reality that you don't think about. An interesting quote that stuck out to me was that "it has become routine to set new emissions records each year..." which points out the fact that this will continue to be an issue for us moving forward. It does leave me wondering what, if anything can be done to get these numbers to decline? The other question I have in mind is why is this not discussed more so that we as a society are more aware of it?

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This page contains a single entry by Capper Nichols published on March 3, 2014 10:27 AM.

"Fossil Fuel Fundamentals" - A Khan and B. Eichler; "Life in the Boom" (six-part series); "Grappling with the Age of 'Tough Oil'" was the previous entry in this blog.

"Consumption and Dispersion" - David Nye; "Why Not Electricity?" - S. Scott & K. Pellman is the next entry in this blog.

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